West Cobb Magazine

Sushi 101

A Layman’s Guide to Sushi

                                                                by  Mike Straus


Sushi keeps growing in popularity everyday and today even some of my friends that thought that raw fish is for bait now are eating and enjoying Sushi. If you are a Sushi beginner, its language can be overwhelming to you, so we’ve tried to put together a quick guide to sushi including the various types and what are the  various types of rolls and the English names for the types of fish in them. 

For more advance Sushi eaters or those who want to know more about it, I recommend going to a great website called Sushi FAQ http://www.sushifaq.com/

To keep it very simple, you can have an individual piece of fish on a piece of rice (NIGRI) or a roll (MAKI). Well it isn’t just that simple, so below is a quick guide to the various type of SUSHI.


makiMaki Sushi is the term used for the various types of sushi rolls. Maki consists of fish, vegetables, rice, and seaweed rolled together and cut into bite-sized pieces. The fish is always placed in the middle, but depending on the type of roll, either the seaweed or the rice may be the outer layer. There are also vegetarian sushi rolls available at many places, which substitute a vegetable such as cucumber in place of the fish.


ngriNigiri Sushi is extremely popular. The dish consists of a hand-formed bed of rice topped with a thin piece of fish. This dish combines the flavorful nature of the fish with a beautiful handmade presentation.



tamakiTemaki sushi is similar to maki sushi. The difference is that the roll is not cut into pieces. A good temaki roll is wrapped tightly and creates a cone shape.


inariInari sushi consists of fried pouches of tofu, called aburage, that are stuffed with sushi rice. Aburage is also used in other dishes, such as some miso soups.



sashimiShasimi –  Sashimi is thinly sliced, raw seafood. Many different kinds of fresh fish and seafood are served raw in the Japanese cuisine.





BARIBara Sushi – The vinegar rice and ingredients are mixed as a salad



CHIRASHIChirashi Sushi – The rice bed has various layers of fish and is served in a bowl called



FUTOMAKIFutomaki – This is a large Maki roll that has many different ingredients using Nori, which is a seaweed wrap



OKONOMIOkonomi Sushi – This is home-style Nigiri



ONOGIRLIOnigiri – This Sushi is made with regular steamed rice and rolled into a ball with other ingredients



OSHIZUSHIOshizushi – Vinegar rice and other ingredients of choice pressed into a mold



 What Does That Mean

This list translates the Japanese name to English and tells you what is in some of the most popular rolls. 

Amaebi – Sweet shrimp

Boston Rolls – Crab, salmon, and scallion

California – Crab and avocado

Ebi – Shrimp

Egg Salad Rolls – Hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and green onion strips

Hamachi – Yellow Tail

Hirame – Halibut

Holiday Rolls – Turkey, cranberry salsa, and cream cheese strips

Hotate – Scallop

Ika – Squid

Ikura – Salmon roe

Kani – Crab

Kappa Ma – Cucumber

Maguro – Tuna

Masago – Smelt Roe

Mirugai – Giant clam

New York Rolls – Smoked salmon, apple, and avocado

Pesto Rolls – Turkey or chicken, cream cheese strips, and pesto

Philadelphia Rolls – Smoked salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese strips

Saba – Mackerel

Sake – Salmon

Shrimp Rolls – Shrimp and cream cheese strips

Smoked Salmon Rolls – Smoked salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese strips

Spider Roll

Summer Melon Rolls – Prosciutto and melon strips

Tako – Octopus

Tai – Red snapper

Tamago – Egg

Tekka Maki – Tuna Roll

Temaki – Spicy tuna

Texas Rolls – Cooked beef, cucumber, and spinach leaves

Toro – Fatty Tuna

Tuna Salad Rolls – Tuna salad and lettuce leaves

Unagi – Eel

Uni – Sea urchin

Veggie Rolls – Pesto, cucumber, tomato, mushrooms, scrambled egg, scallions

This third list includes other ingredients that are commonly used for Sushi: 

Short-grain white rice

Nori (seaweed)

Mirin (sweet rice wine)

Seasoned rice vinegar


Barbecue or regular eel




Alpha or bean sprouts


Shitake mushrooms

Cream cheese

Tempura batter

As you can see, Sushi is not simply rice and fish.  While you can create any ingredient combination that sounds appealing to you, the one thing you want to do is maintain the integrity of this Asian food.  This means serving the Sushi with a choice of soy sauce or wasabi, along with either pickled ginger or green tea as a way to cleanse the palette. 

Our Two Favorite West Cobb Sushi Bars

Thai Basil/Sushi Zen  – Acworth- This area favorite’s  name is confusing but yes, it is a combination sushi bar and Thai restaurant. They recently introduced a new Thai menu with all the old favorites and a number of new Thai dishes you won’t find at other WC Thai restaurants. One of their new appetizers is called Mike’s Steam Roll, which, yes is named after yours truly.  Make sure you don’t forget about their Monday evening $1 Sushi Specials. It runs every Monday night from 4:30- 6:30 PM. , 3330 Cobb Pkwy NW, Acworth, (770) 975-8909, www.thaibasilsushizen.com

Thaicoon Thai and Sushi Bar, Marietta Square This  is a beautiful Thai restaurant that also has a wonderful full Sushi bar. Many people feel that they are the best place for both Sushi and  Thai in all of Cobb. The Thai menu has almost any Thai dish that you will find in Atlanta.  Their Sushi is very fresh and they offer lots of interesting specialty rolls.  At lunch they offer a specially priced lunch menu featuring both Thai dishes and Sushi. Lunch Monday- Saturday and Dinner Dailey , 34 Mill Street NW, Marietta, (678) 766-0641, www.thaicoonsushi.com

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